Wed, Mar 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Peak flu season over, but caution still needed: CDC

STAY VIGILANT:People who are eligible to receive a government-funded influenza vaccine due to health conditions should get immunized, a CDC official said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

The Centers for Disease Control’s Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping talks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The peak period of the flu season has ended, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, but still urged people to take precautions against infection.

A total of 85,163 hospital visits for flu-like illness were reported nationwide last week, about the same as the week before and lower than the peak period threshold, the CDC said.

Thirty-nine serious flu complications, four of which resulted in death, were confirmed last week, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said, adding that 28 (72 percent) of them were infected with the influenza A (H1N1) strain.

Most of the people who had serious flu complications last week were aged 50 and above — 21 of them (54 percent) were older than 65 and more than 10 of them (26 percent) were aged 50 to 64, the CDC said.

The people who died were aged 42 to 73 and were all infected with the H1N1 strain, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.

None of those who died had received a flu vaccination, Lin said, adding that three of them had chronic diseases.

The youngest patient who died was a 42-year-old woman who did not have a chronic disease, but had a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, which had made her eligible for a government-funded flu vaccination, Lin said.

She developed a fever and coughing, followed by shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and later developed pulmonary edema and pneumonia, Lin said, adding that she died about two weeks after the onset of symptoms.

People with chronic diseases or high BMI usually have weaker cardio-pulmonary function and are at risk of developing serious complications from flu infection, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

People who meet the eligibility requirement for government-funded flu vaccines should get immunized, he added.

The peak period this season started in the middle of January and lasted until the middle of this month, he said, adding that a total of 755 serious flu complications, of which 74 resulted in death, have been confirmed.

Most of them were infected with the H1H1 virus strain (469 cases) and the type A (H3N2) virus (250 cases), he added.

The CDC also reported this year’s first case of Lyme disease in a man in his 20s from northern Taiwan.

He has been on a working holiday program in Sweden since September last year and returned home this month, the CDC said.

The man was bitten by insects when walking in a forest and had papules in the groin area near his upper right thigh, which disappeared after two or three months, Liu said.

However, as he suspected that he had been bitten by ticks, he sought medical attention after returning home and is being treated with antibiotics, Liu added.

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